The NHS Trust that housed the UK’s primary transgender healthcare clinic has served notice according to which its service is going to be ended. The Gender Identity Clinic at Charing Cross governed by Mental Health Trust has been helping trans people since 1960s.
But after numerous warnings about spiralling backlogs in the sector as demand for trans services booms, the Trust has announced the plan to terminate its contract. As the commissioner of gender identity services, it will be up to NHS England to seek to find a replacement provider for the service. The Trust says the change would not impact services for patients, contingent upon NHS England finding a “suitable alternative provider” as quickly as possible. But transgender rights activists worry that patients may end up falling through the gaps. In a statement, the Trust says it will attempt to ensure a “smooth” handover.
The statement says: “Demand for gender identity services has risen sharply in recent years as society has grown more understanding and awareness of NHS services has developed. This has been challenging for the clinic and resulted in waiting times that are longer than we would like. However, the clinic’s staff have continued to invest huge amounts of energy and, working with NHS England, have made great strides in bringing these waiting times down while still providing a service which is rated highly by patients. However, as WLMHT moves forward it is necessary to refocus the services that we provide. The Board has made a decision that the medium-term strategic focus for the Trust will be to develop mental health services, physical care and integration between the two. As a result, the Trust has come to the conclusion that patients requiring gender identity services would be better served in the long term by another provider, and has therefore served notice on our contract to NHS England.”